Nick Saban has been adamant all week that his starting quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, will be playing in today's game against The Citadel. Alabama's star QB has been dealing with a knee injury for part of the 2018 season, but Saban will not be resting him today.
Here's the latest on the status of the Heisman Trophy frontrunner.
While Saban has maintained that Tagovailoa will be playing this afternoon, ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum doesn't believe he'll be on the field for very long.
The SEC guru said on SportsCenter this morning that he can't see Tagovailoa playing for more than a couple of series.
"Nick Saban has to say that because he doesn’t want to give the impression that he’s not taking The Citadel seriously,” Finebaum said today. "You may remember — he lost to Louisiana Monroe his first year at Alabama in 2007 on this day. During his first year at LSU, he lost to UAB. He understands these schools can beat the big boys. A couple years ago, The Citadel beat South Carolina, but that won’t happen today.
"But watch — if Tua plays more than two series, I’ll pull the remaining hair out of my head.”
Resting Tagovailoa for the entire game might be the smart move, but it's not one Saban is willing to make. He's been adamant all week that it's important for him to play.
“Just like when I got asked on Monday like we should not play Tua in this game. Well, if we didn’t play Tua in this game, we’d be sending the message to every good player that we have that they shouldn’t play in the game," Saban told reporters earlier this week. "So eventually, why should we even play? We should just forfeit so nobody gets hurt. Take a loss and just be done be done with it. Or is it an opportunity for everybody to improve and grow and challenge themselves to get better so that we go out and execute and play better as a team and build a little momentum through the week and the game, aight, so maybe we play better in the next game. So, that’s what I believe.
“And it really doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks. They have every right to work like I’ve worked for 30-something years as a coach and get a job and have their own team. Then they can make any decision that they want. I tell the assistants that all the time. ‘You want to do it that way? Get you a head job, and you can do it that way, aight. But right now, this is the way we’re going to do it.’”
Tagovailoa's knee injury is believed to be a minor one, but if it were to get more serious, it could be a devastating blow for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama and The Citadel are set to kick off at noon E.T. The game will be televised on SEC Network.